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Short-Eared Owls

Short-Eared owls, often called “Shorties”, are unusual for owls as they are frequently out in the daytime despite being mainly crepuscular and nocturnal. They can be seen over wide expanses of open grasslands, and over marshlands. It roosts on the ground where it also nests, laying its eggs in a shallow scrape lined with grass and feathers. Like most of our other owls it feeds mainly on voles and small mammals, and sometimes takes small birds.
It mainly breeds in the north of the UK, migrating more widely in the autumn and winter months. Visitors from Scandinavia, Iceland and Russia join the UK population during the winter. The owls arrive in late autumn and usually depart during March or thereabouts. They rarely call out except around their breeding grounds.
They are so named because they have short tufts of feathers, the so called “ears” that are only rarely displayed and are nothing to do with ears but are raised when the bird is defending itself. They have noteworthy piercing yellow eyes which give the appearance of staring.

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